Work histories of most Africans in South Africa determine whether or not they will be poor at old age. To illustrate this point, the author uses the literature and data collected from elderly Africans. Findings show racial discrimination in education and in the labor market as resulting in the concentration of the majority of Africans in low paying jobs. Low wages and the absence of a national pension scheme prevent most Africans from saving for their retirement. African workers constitute the largest percentage of the working poor in South Africa. Their circumstances are unlikely to change even after retirement. At old age, they look to the government's non-contributory old age pension for support. The paper recommends issues for incorporation into a post-apartheid social welfare policy.